Yarn Pooling: A Quick Guide to Crochet Planned Pooling

One of the best things about crocheting, as with many other yarn crafts, is that it gives you the freedom to create almost anything you can imagine. However, in order to make colours, patterns, and shapes come to life, we need to get the right techniques down. One such technique is yarn pooling. Let’s dive deeper into what yarn pooling is and how to do it right.

What Is (Color) Yarn Pooling?

Yarn pooling, also known as colour pooling, is a crochet technique for variegated and self-striping yarns used for creating colour-based patterns. In short, pooling happens when the various colours of a multi-colour yarn come together in a certain spot, creating a pooling effect.

When using multi-colour yarn, the odds are that you will naturally create a little bit of a colour pool here and there. In fact, originally, yarn pooling was considered a mistake rather than a technique. There are many methods for avoiding yarn pooling when you crochet or knit, too.

However, with planned pooling (which is exactly what it sounds like — pooling with a plan), you can create beautiful, intentional colour patterns. One of the most popular pooling patterns, and a great choice for first-timers, is argyle (the diamond pattern). However, it is possible to create other, much more advanced patterns with colour pooling, too.

Choosing the Right Yarn for Planned Pooling

The key to a successful planned pooling project is picking the right yarn. Keep in mind that, with pooling, instead of using multiple solid-colour yarns to create patterns, you will be using a single, multi-colour, ideally self-striping yarn. In other words, other than choosing the right fibre content and weight, you will also need to pay attention to the colour of your chosen material.

The colour variation on a strand of yarn should repeat and be of even length. Luckily, some brands, such as Red Heart, have yarn made specifically for colour pooling, but even regular variegated yarns will do the job. You can check whether the different coloured bits are of equal length by visually comparing them or folding them. The exact colour length you should use will depend on the stitch, yarn weight, and pattern you’re going for. For starters, try to find yarns with 6-inch variations.

When it comes to choosing the weight of the yarn, it will depend on the type of project you’re planning. For instance, worsted-weight yarn is one of the most versatile, as it is great for anything from sweaters to home decor. On the other hand, finer yarns such as lace and fingering yarn are better for accessories, as they can’t endure a lot of wear and tear. Similarly, your choice of material depends on what you’re making, what it will be used for, and how much you’re willing to spend on your project.

Not sure which yarn to get? We recommend Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn in any of the ombre colours, Caron Simply Soft, Mary Maxim Starlette, and Patons Canadiana New Generation Yarn.

Best Crochet Stitches for Planned Pooling

Since the length of the colour variation and the length of your stitches will make or break your pooling pattern, it’s worth taking some time to learn about the best crochet stitches for yarn pooling:

- Single crochet stitch — This is one of the six basic stitches that all beginners learn as soon as they start to crochet.

- Half double crochet stitch — Another simple stitch, half double, is quite similar to a single stitch but includes an extra yarn-over.

- Granite stitch — Also known as a moss stitch or linen stitch, granite is a combination of chain stitches and single crochet stitches.

- Seed stitch — Another combination stitch, the seed stitch, uses single crochet and double crochet stitches.

- Granny stripe stitch — Although it may look a little more advanced, the granny stripe stitch is just as easy to master as the previous few.

Of course, these aren’t your only stitch options. However, if you’re still new at crocheting, we suggest starting your pooling project with single or half-double stitches. As you practice and get more comfortable with patterns, you can slowly graduate to more difficult stitches.

Tips for Planned Pooling
Understanding planned pooling in theory and actually doing it in real life are two completely different things. So once you get down to it, don’t worry if you feel a little lost. Simply keep in mind the following useful tips for yarn pooling to help you out:
- As you crochet, you will want to maintain an even tension on the yarn. Pulling harder or making the stitches tighter or looser will affect their length and throw you off your pattern.
- If you’re not using a pooling-specific yarn, you will have to establish how many stitches per colour you should go for. The best way to do this is through trial and error — play around with various stitches and hooks until you find what works.
- Since we’re working based on colour here, it is important to maintain the same stitch-per-colour gauge (rather than stitch-per-inch). It’s a good idea, for this reason, to have hooks in multiple sizes ready when pooling.
- For many, visualizing their patterns and stitches helps plan the pooling better. Feel free to use coloured pencils and some paper to draw your pattern and then follow along more easily.
- The first few rows are the most difficult part. You might be breaking into a sweat trying to finish the first couple of rows with perfect alignment, but the good news is that the task gets easier with each new row.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Colour pooling is simply one of those things that you have to get wrong first in order to get right later.

Free Planned Pooling Patterns
Now that we’ve covered the basics of planned colour pooling, it is time to actually make some fun patterns. Read on to check out our free planned pooling crochet patterns. If you’re already familiar with pooling, you will likely find these projects quite easy. But if you’re a beginner, these two will be the perfect starting point for your new adventure.

Free Perfect Planned Pooling Scarf Pattern
The first pattern we want to share with you is the free perfect planned pooling scarf pattern. This pattern uses two skeins of the Red Heart brand pooling yarn, but any variegated or self-striping yarn with similar length variations should do the trick. Ideally, you should have hooks in more than one size to ensure the right per-color gauge. In order to make this scarf, you will also need to be familiar with the moss stitch.

Free Happy Planned Pooling Blanket Pattern
The second pattern we want to share today is the free happy planned pooling blanket pattern. Just like with the scarf pattern, this one also uses Red Heart pooling yarn, a total of 7 skeins for a 42x45” blanket, and the moss stitch. Aside from the pooling pattern, the blanket also has a solid edge, giving it an additional pop of colour.